Mexican security forces captured the son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman for extradition to the United States in a shootout.
Troops detained Ovidio Guzman Lopez during Thursday’s operation in the city of Culiacan. But as the shootout dragged on, he was released and the operation was suspended to save lives.
The battle which lasted for hours left several people dead and several families in hiding.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador acknowledged Friday that security forces went to Culiacan to capture the son on a judge’s order. Mexico’s Security Cabinet eventually suspended the operation “to protect the lives of the people,” he said.
“The capture of a criminal cannot be worth more than the lives of the people … many citizens, people, human beings were at risk,” López Obrador said during a press conference.
Nine government soldiers or law enforcement officers who were captured by the suspected cartel members during the battle were released when the government stopped the operation.
The troops’ intent was to arrest Guzman Lopez for extradition to the United States, Alfonso Durazo, the security minister, said on Friday.
El Chapo’s 28-year-old Guzman Lopez son is believed to have a large role in powerful Sinaloa drug cartel and faces charges in the US of conspiracy to distribute drugs. Guzman along with his brother Joaquin Guzman Lopez are suspected of distributing cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine from Mexico and other places to the United States.
Their father who was once a powerful member of the Sinaloa cartel was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years in the US.